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8 Tips for Re-Platforming Success

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8 Tips for Re-Platforming Success

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Young, happy woman standing in front of conference table
Young, happy woman standing in front of conference table

There’s no getting around it: Every eCommerce platform—no matter how well it might have worked for you in the past—will eventually start showing its age. It’s simply the reality of the technology lifecycle; what was once cutting edge, inevitably loses its sharpness.

Is your current platform requiring more frequent maintenance and upgrades? Is its performance inconsistent, leading to technical and user experience issues? Has the cost of maintaining your platform simply become untenable? Then you might be in possession of the technology described above, and you might want to consider re-platforming.  

Group of coworkers standing around a table discussing a project

The Key to a Successful Re-Platform Is Preparation

After going through this process with countless clients, we can say with a high degree of certainty that developing a re-platforming game plan is worth every minute of time invested in putting it together. So, whether you’re seriously considering re-platforming or just thinking about it, here are 8 key tips for re-platform success:

1. Make Sure Everyone Is on the Same Page

Before kicking off an undertaking as big as re-platforming, you want to make sure to get buy-in from executive leadership and all business stakeholders. Everyone needs to be aligned on what will be included in the re-platform, how long the process is going to take, and, of course, how much it’s going to cost. Based on the sizable role that digital now plays in the overall business, re-platforming affects many more internal teams from marketing to merchandising to stores. 

2. Must-Have vs. Nice to Have

During the re-platform process, you might reach a point where you’ll have to make some compromises. Regardless of how strategic and insight-filled your re-platform plan may be, things happen, unexpected issues crop up, and you’ll have to cross some things off your wish list. We recommend to our clients that very early on in the planning stage they make some hard decisions between what is a “must-have” feature and what is a “nice to have” feature.  

Happy bearded businessman leaning against a conference table

3. The Right People in the Right Roles

As with any team, you need a strong leader; one to act as the primary point of contact for the project, as well as the dedicated decision-maker. If a quick answer is required or a tie-breaking decision amongst the project team needs to be cast, this is that person. In addition to the business leader, we suggest a marketing subject matter expert (SME), a product content SME, and a technical SME that understands the platform integration points like the back of their hand.

4. Be Realistic About Timing, Cost, and Downtime

How long is this whole thing going to take? That depends on answers to the following questions: What platform are you going to use? Is the site redesign/user experience included in the re-platform? Are you adding any capabilities, such as new payment options? Regarding cost, again, your company’s individual situation, business goals, and technical needs will affect the price. As for downtime, yes, some re-platforms do require a pause in certain activities while migrating content, data, or technologies from the current platform to the new one. 

Young data analyst reviewing reports on his computer

5. Don’t Forget Your Data

One of the most common concerns we hear from business teams when they’re considering a re-platform is how to ensure that they don’t lose their analytics data and SEO rankings.  If the client is using Google Analytics, GA4, or Firebase, PeakActivity will reuse the current account, property, and views, which will retain all historical data. At PeakActivity, we also re-implement any marketing pixels using Google’s Tag Manager. This is typically done toward the end of development to avoid any re-work.

6. Pre-Plan for SEO

Organic traffic from search engine optimization (SEO) is built slowly over time, becoming one of the best and most valued investments for eCommerce businesses. However, that traffic can suffer a significant drop after a re-platform. This is why we recommend working with an SEO strategist who will create a plan that focuses on such things as mapping redirects one-to-one, meta descriptions, keywords, and tracking 404 errors.

Young lady lounging on couch shopping on her iPad

7. Prep Your Product Data

Product data is a lot more than just a description of what it is you’re trying to sell. Believe it or not, product data allows your company to make meaningful connections with potential customers, and being able to accurately highlight what makes your products worthwhile will help you differentiate from your competitors. This is why it’s important to properly prep your product data before re-platforming. 

8. Pick a Partner, Not a Provider 

It can be complicated, expensive, and—let’s be honest—maybe even a little scary. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the reason you’re even considering re-platforming is to help make your business become more successful, not just in the short term but in the long term, as well. Consider working with an experienced partner who can guide you through the re-platform process with confidence and clarity.


quote

“Overall, the web is pretty sloppy, 
but an online store can’t afford to be.”
 

PAUL GRAHAM

Co-Founder of Y Combinator


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Prepare for Tomorrow Today

While re-platforming will certainly help you address the business challenges you face today, it will also help position you for success in the future. The key is to find a platform that has been designed to flex and adapt to whatever changes might come your way, whether due to advancements in technology, shifts in consumer behavior, or other unforeseen forces in the marketplace. 

There’s no question that deciding to re-platform is a major undertaking, but, if the majority of your revenue is derived from eCommerce, re-platforming just might be one of the best investments you can make for your business.

Want to know even more? Get all the details and a step-by-step guide by downloading our latest eBook on this very subject.

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